Music Therapy, once marginalized, comes into the mainstream of children’s hospitals

Joanna Bereaud rolled her cart down the hospital hallway. A patient was waiting for her treatment — delivered by maraca and drum.

Bereaud, a music therapist at Boston Children’s Hospital, carries a guitar on her back and more instruments in her cart: xylophones, an ocean drum, a rain stick, metal chimes, a kid-sized tambourine.

In her 15 years there, her quiver of instruments has grown, and so has her role in the hospital. Music therapists, once marginalized as volunteers, are now on staff, helping with a wide range of tasks: They show up at scary needle-prickings and before big surgeries; they help kids speak, regulate their walking gait, and even go to the bathroom; they sing with families as they prepare for a child to die.

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